At the end of the month, we mark the centennial of the Lincoln Memorial. This monument to our 16th President was dedicated on Memorial Day (then Decoration Day) in 1922 and its one hundred year birthday falls on Memorial Day this year. The Lincoln Memorial is visited by millions every year in Washington, D.C., and has been the site for many memorable speeches and events over time. The dedication ceremony drew quite a crowd. On May 30, 1922, approximately 50,000 people gathered around the base of the memorial and some along the Reflecting Pool, as seen in the photos below:
Three main speakers addressed the crowd, and were broadcast to as many as 2 million over the radio: Chief Justice William Howard Taft, President Warren G. Harding and Dr. Robert Russa Moton, principal of the Tuskegee Institute. Dr. Moton delivered the keynote address for the dedication, speaking to a segregated crowd about the discrimination African Americans continued to face:
In attendance that day amongst the crowds were veterans of the U. S. Civil War from the North and the South, as well as Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, seen arriving at the memorial in the photo below:
Taken from the Washington Monument, I’ll leave you with this view of the memorial during the dedication — a picture at the beginning of the Lincoln Memorial’s place in American history.
- Enjoy additional photos of the Lincoln Memorial during its dedication as well as during its construction in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- Read past Library of Congress blog posts related to the Lincoln Memorial and the events that happened there over the last century, including a Picture This blog post: Marian Anderson in Performance: A Visual (and Musical) Story
- To mark the Lincoln Memorial Centennial, the National Park Service will host a series of events all month long. Check out the list of events to learn more.